Tuesday, 25 June 2013

to blog or not to blog

To blog or not to blog

I believe there is a spark of creative genius in each and every one of us – even me!

 I will attempt to show you what I mean by using this simple blog as an illustration of my point. As with all efforts at creativity, there is some degree of risk involved when your work is critically reviewed but I hope to convince you there is also a very high chance of success to be enjoyed if all goes to plan…

 I started to blog only recently at the start of 2012, having been encouraged by family, friends and business colleagues to take the plunge and see what I could produce. I didn’t really know what I was doing as this was uncharted territory for me, didn’t know if my ideas would be relevant to anyone or indeed if I was capable of successfully writing a creative piece of work on a specific theme. So, you can imagine the trepidation with which I approached that first task. However, I’m glad to be able to say that that first piece of work went down OK and, more importantly, gave me my first taste of success in the way that I was hinting at in the paragraph above – what I mean by that is the simple act of creating that blog produced several very important successful outcomes for me, both as a person and a businessman:

·         The blog proved to me that I could indeed tackle scary new ideas and change the way I had been accustomed to behave for over 50 years.

·         It convinced me that I certainly can be creative, even with what to me at the time was an alien way of writing and communicating. I don’t think I was unique in considering myself not especially creative but in truth I was the one who had put me into a non-creative pigeon hole and the good news was here was a way out!

·         The task showed me there is distinct pleasure to be had in ordering your thoughts in this way and often we are not aware how much contribution we can make until we crystallize our thinking in writing for the scrutiny of others. 

·         This first blog produced positive comments and very pleasing feedback over time, often from unexpected sources and spread over a very wide range of contacts with a great diversity of backgrounds and reasons for reading my blog. Like the proverbial pebble dropped in the pond, I managed to create a ripple which went a long way and proved to be a very effective way of connecting with my wider audience. All of a sudden I had managed to wake up dormant contacts and had found a way of expressing ideas which was new and totally unique to me. I’m sure there was a large of amount of luck involved too but then it’s possible to make your own luck if you work hard enough at it.

·         Not having been expecting any success at blogging, it has been extremely gratifying, over the eighteen months or so since I’ve been at it, to realize how expectations can be exceeded in the most unlikely of fields if the required effort is put in – surely a good lesson for anyone in business to learn. DIY can work and work very well – with the power and reach of the internet at our disposal, shaky or lucky starts can soon be transformed into steady progress and the results of that can easily serve as the foundation for something bigger and better.

I’ve enjoyed writing this blog today as I’ve not had time to pen one since March this year. The reason for that has been my twice monthly business column for the Chester Standard, a local newspaper with a circulation of nearly 100,000, which has kept me rather busy as I’ve got into my stride with the totally new levels of commitment. I share this not for any reason of self-promotion but simply to show what can be achieved if change is embraced. Oh and I’m not daft enough to think I’m suddenly a world-famous columnist either but one thing’s for sure I would not have taken up the challenge without the blogging experience to bolster my confidence.

Here’s a link to my first blog 

If you care to have a read of it I’d be delighted as always to hear your thoughts. Please email me at info@barnhillmarketing.co.uk or tweet @barnhill_jeff.

My Chester Standard column can be viewed online here on page 29

Friday, 15 March 2013

Could your business be enjoying the fruits of High Growth?

The benefits of producing a sustainable High Growth curve in your turnover and profits are more accessible these days than you might think.

I have been working with several new clients recently as a coach on the Government’s GrowthAccelerator service. This is a programme which is funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and is available to all SME businesses from any sector based anywhere in England. Provided you turnover is less than £40m and you employ 1-249 people, you could be eligible if you meet the growth criteria.

Although you certainly will need high energy levels and high levels of commitment to achieve High Growth status (officially defined as ambition, opportunity and capacity for growth at 20%+ pa) I was surprised to learn just how grounded and “normal” some of these client businesses can be. Most of these companies (and I fully support this view) shun grandiose schemes or intellectual strategy and use technology on a highly selective basis only where the benefits are crystal clear and unambiguous. By following a simple plan and being flexible enough to change it when the market produces the slightest twitch and stick with it when the pressure mounts with every subsequent twist and turn – rewards can be reaped.

Some of these rewards would include benefits such as these where UK plc is also undoubtedly a beneficiary:

  •     High Growth firms show on average a 300% increase in employment over a 3 years 
  •    A contented workforce is empowered to act independently and follow a shared vision
  •     Creating a sense of exhilaration that comes from making regular rapid decisions

If you want to know more about my views on developing a High Growth business – check out my latest article on page 26 in the Chester Standard.

Alternatively, if you are interested in hearing direct from me please drop me an email to info@barnhillmarketing.co.uk